At least around here they are. Perhaps a better term would be ghetto. Honestly, I'm not sure how these places survive. Often in Cheb the funfair would come to town and park itself in the parking lot at Tesco. Occasionally I would see a kid or two in the inflatable jumping castle, but beyond that the place was more of a ghost town than the creepy haunted house that at least had mannequins inside.
While I complained that they must have some sort of sinister underside that sponsors them, Mark insisted that they've owned them for so long that it doesn't cost that much money to move them from place to place. Okay, maybe not, but still, the people all gotta eat! They have to make money somehow, and even if they charge 40 KC (a little more than $2) for a ride, they can't exactly be making bank if no one is riding.
Well, this past week the funfair made it's way here to Marianske Lazne. While they might not have many guests, they make plenty of noise in the form of some sort of music being pumped out of the speakers set up everywhere around the attraction. Mark and I were wandering past last Monday and felt bizarrely attracted to the place. Maybe curious is a better word. Whatever way you want to look at it, we decided to go in.
I'm not sure the precise term for Carnies in Czech, but that is definitely what we found there, along with equipment that had clearly been around for several decades. I still hold that they must have some sort of darker business sponsoring their livelihood, they did have several fully functioning rides and we decided to give it a go after all.
First up, the swans! We were told we couldn't sit in swans right next to each other since we were the only people in the entire area, so we had to sit on opposite sides. Much to his disappointment, Mark's swan didn't want to soar quite as high as mine did. Ah well. I had a great time and was fully amused.
We wandered a bit more and decided to give the bumper cars a whirl. Mark was a perfect gentleman and I was perfectly merciless. Quite entertaining. Not good for photos, but a great time all the same.
Then we had the thought that cotton candy would be a fitting end to our little escapade at the funfair. When we went to the little food shack the guy told us at first that they were all out, but then he found someone who could help us. Unfortunately (?) they didn't use this lovely and definitely ghetto cotton candy machine:
Instead they actually had a newer one that they pulled out and whipped us up a batch. I watched as loose strands of the sweet sugary fluff broke free and floated up in the air looking all shimmery like a spiderweb in the sun. They didn't use any food coloring in it, so it was just white, but still tasted classic.
It's a terrible picture, but it'll have to do, and you can at least see the cotton candy. Sadly, as I was turning to take this picture of myself I tripped over some big metal something. I'm not even sure what the purpose of the big thing was, but it did a glorious job bruising my ankle and breaking the skin. Not a great thing to have happen right before I was planning a big trip, but I didn't do it on purpose. Just like I didn't catch a bad cold on purpose either. (sigh)
Anyhow, we walked around with our cotton candy and headed out of the funfair and into a large parking lot where they were still storing some monster trucks from the exhibition they'd had the night before. We didn't go to the show, but we enjoyed being able to get up close to these beasts :)
When we got home Mark's Mom was a bit curious about what drew us into the funfair, but we had such a great time. It was the sort of thing that helped us forget about all the things that can stress out so much at this period on life, and let us just laugh and be kids for a bit. It really was great fun, even if not the most sanitary experience (I didn't share how dirty the fingers were on the man who made the cotton candy for us...)
And for those wondering where the pictures of Sweden are, no worries, they're coming. I just wanted to have a chance to get this bit in first. The night before we flew out I had a horrible time sleeping. I had a bad cold, and I always get nervous before a flight, so I spent a long time thinking of all the acrostics I could use for titles. At least I'm entertaining myself :)